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Assorted posters for The Shining
Jennifer O'Meara

Thanks, Keith. I agree: The Shining example suggests that Bass enjoyed creating many, varied designs for their own sake — as an expressive process — so I imagine he would have a very full digital profile (and lots of viral, if not commercial, success).

Fan Poster for Infinity War
Keith M. Johnston

I think the idea of creating the polished look is clearly important to the fan poster designer - although there are several good Infinity War trailers out there that look professional - but I wonder about the ultimate purpose of such fan labour.

I know of several cases where fan trailer producers have moved into the trailer industry, so those initial fan trailers *could* be seen as calling cards and showreels. as much as expressions of fandom (although clearly this isn’t always the case).

I’m even more uncertain if that is the function of the fan poster - as you note, acquiring technical skills for poster design might be easier than the full audio-visual expertise of a trailer). This can be about expressing a character preference, simply sharing the excitement, or possibly passing for ‘the real’.

What is fascinating is that this fan anticipatory mode is - in posters and trailers - expressed through looking back, to what already exists (images, clips, audio)…

Assorted posters for The Shining
Keith M. Johnston

Jennifer, a great start to the themed week, and food for thought. In light of your final question, it is notable that there has been a recent trend for every major character in a franchise to receive their own poster - this definitely responds to the idea that human faces (and recognisable actors / characters) dominate the poster world. I’d like to think that the minimalism of Bass’ best work would still stand out, but I wonder if he’d be in the ‘indie’ world or producing alternate DVD covers rather than the posters and bus-sides that dominate modern poster dissemination?

Fan Poster for Infinity War
Jennifer O'Meara

The lead-time you observe here in relation to Avengers: Infinity War – Part I (not due for release for 2 years) seems very long. How soon is too soon to start creating such materials? Presumably, fans must exhaust their own enthusiasm at some point!

In terms of official posters, the trend for individual, character-led posters seems like a strategy for achieving blanket marketing strategies in the cinema itself (i.e. whole foyers are ‘taken over’ by different images and characters from a single film). The single character posters also seem like an extension of the pressure I mentioned for designers to foreground the star face/body (group posters can’t ‘cash in’ on this fully). Yet the equivalent unofficial posters seem like a perfect way for fans to express preferences for, and identification with, individual characters.

I imagine that anticipatory posters are easier to achieve than anticipatory trailers (which generally rely on preview material or footage from earlier films). Anticipatory posters seem to pass for official posters more easily, at least, since achieving the polished look can be easier (provided the poster maker has the required level of technical skill).

Screenshot from Islamic State of Cat depicts a masked militant holding two cat
Matt Cornell

Thank you for reading! It’s funny that you mention the Brussels Lockdown, because many of the same images used by Belgians for that meme were of cats also used by ISIS supporters in #catsofjihad and other memes. I think that ISIS cat memes are actually fairly obscure, so I do not believe Belgians were responding to ISIS. Rather, I propose that the Internet is one big cat rendering plant. Cats are reliably flexible avatars, capable of conveying a broad range of affective, political and autobiographical messages on behalf of their human counterparts. As you note, their cuteness is contradicted by their resilience. Or rather, cats reveal something about the alterity and animality domesticated beneath the cute image.

I should also add that their aloofness and independence make them ideal neoliberal subjects, a theory I have explored a bit more in this piece on Nekp Atsume.

https://overland.org.au/2015/12/purr-ideology-the-neoliberal-pleasures-o...

Screenshot from Islamic State of Cat depicts a masked militant holding two cat
Jennifer O'Meara

Thanks for an interesting post. I wasn’t aware of the ISIS cats but, on the other side, the Brussels lockdown cats received a lot of attention last November: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/11/23/europe/paris-attacks-brussels-lockdown-cats/.

To your knowledge, were the Brussels cat tweets purely coincidental, or a knowing response to the earlier ISIS cats? The Brussels cats seem to draw on the conception of cats as both conventionally cute and unexpectedly resilient (given their size and tendency to scare easily).

Zara Dinnen

Hey, Really interesting post and comment. I am interested in your use of cuteness here. I don’t think it is necessarily in contradiction with the comment about actual practices on a base. The cuteness is what modulates public perception of what happens on a base *today* (with the affordances of personal social media and embedded war reporting)? The work of cuteness would then matter precisely because it obfuscates (as you say); social media public discourse is very rarely knowledgeable about “actual” military experiences (which you can sort of see play out in the YouTube comments for these videos which are casually moderated by voices of—presumably—military personal correcting and clarifying the conditions of making these videos). I have an article forthcoming on these videos in Journal of American Studies… would be great to get your thoughts on the work.

Kate Morgan

I follow your argumentation, but find it a bit lacking in experience in reference to this subculture. The homoeroticism I witnessed while in the military serves many purposes. Asserting humanity is one of them, but the other has traditionally been creating a discursive space subversive to an authority that would reject the behavior.

For example, if my drill sergeant was announcing that certain privates were “rainbow warriors,” over the loud speaker before lights out, it was more than hazing, or even an observation. It was pretty much an announcement that higher command would not be present that night and you really wouldn’t know what to expect.

Flouting expected norms in units, in my experience is kind of a way of signalling that the individual is free to act as an individual instead of expected to behave as part of a collective—as speech act. Gender is a common norm to behave in this fashion.

Merida
Kate Morgan

I like your take on Brave, but I still had two problems with the movie as a whole: 1.) The question presented is still about marriage, as opposed to a woman just doing something awesome and being an awesome woman, and makinh choices about her love life if it suits her. 2.) Queen Elinor is still a bear for most of the film. It’s no better than Tiana being a frog for most of hers. Representation and screen time is crucial.

That said, it is still leaps and bounds better than most Disney fare, and I liked how you related to it.

Mother Gothel is more prominent in Tangled than Rapunzel's actual mother.
Kate Morgan

It might be. It might be that a largely male animation world doesn’t even have the semiotic language to attempt it appropriately—at least in the case of the classic animation.

I know that current efforts I’ve been involved in (or have followed) to highlight and feature women’s presences and voices in film have been considering that question heavily.

My larger point I think, which I will be elaborating on in a few days at The Electric Feast, for my own exercise, is that we can’t have the narratives we really want without proper representation behind the scenes.

Not knowing the demographics of the writing, animation, and production teams behind Tangled, I can’t properly play with the notion that women themselves might still be struggling for the appropriate languages to represent women in media in a positively concrete way. If I consult many of theories I cited in my musing we’re referring to, I undoubtedly can in a more abstract one.

Thank you for your comment. It was thought-provoking.